The Unpretentious Reader


Radio silence + 2017 goals

I know it’s been quiet around here.

When I first wrote that sentence, I ended it with an apology. But I’m not sorry for taking time away, and too often I say sorry for a multitude of things that are simply not my fault.


Goal #1: Stop saying sorry for everything.


It’s not that I even wanted a break. I miss this little corner of the internet that’s all mine, and I’m trying to find my way back to it – truly, I am.


Sometimes life turns upside down, and for whatever reason, you lose interest in the very things you once loved to do. Writing for me sometimes is a painful process, in that I mean it is almost never easy. But I crave the feeling I get when I’ve managed to push through the mindblocks, the creative dry spells, the difficult emotions, and actually write something. My sweet, amazing therapist, who I’m already missing like crazy (she had to move on in her residency) gave me homework to simply write. And so here I am.


Goal #2: Start writing again.


2017 is the year I want to start living for myself – it’s the year I want to start taking the best care of myself: physically, mentally, and everything in between. It’s the year I want to learn how to say no….and how to say yes. It’s time to once and for all make my own decisions without fear of judgment or other people’s opinions. It’s time to trust myself, because I’m a strong, independent woman who knows what she wants and needs.


Goal #3: Trust my gut.


I only read 44 books in 2016, just shy of my goal of 50. I think I would’ve made it, but the past few months – as I’ve mentioned – I simply lost interest in things I love to do. Reading was one of those, and so for a good two-month period of time, I barely read anything. Recently I’ve been rediscovering my love for it, though (thank goodness, I missed it so), and I’m feeling hopeful that I can set a goal for 2017 and actually meet it.


Goal #4: Read 45 books this year.


And that’s it. A modest list, but one that fits perfectly with where I’m at in life. I left 2016 in a mix of emotions. So many highs and lows – good memories, but also really, really bad ones. Ones I’m not sad to leave behind. But I’m looking forward to 2017 with an open heart and mind. I know there are things in my life to look forward to, and I’m ready for them.

So ready.

Trying new things.

You’re never too old to try new things, amiright?

When I first started this blog a few months back, I set some goals for 2016, and one of those goals was to get mentally and physically healthy. I received a Fitbit for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) and since January I’ve managed to get 10,000 or more steps each and every day. I also joined the gym where I work and went a handful of times….but I’m not a very good gym person. I know this about myself, and I accept it.

I basically hate all forms of exercise except hiking (which I even tend to hate in the moment; it’s really more of a hate/love relationship with all the love happening when I make it to the top of the trail, and not a moment sooner), so I’ve been on the lookout for new activities that will be both enjoyable AND a good workout for my body and/or mind.


New activity #1: YOGA!

I’ve always been envious of people who are extremely flexible, having never been one myself (I can’t even touch my toes without bending my knees a bit). I have friends who practice yoga, though, and they convinced me to come try it. I was intimidated due to the aforementioned lack of flexibility, and while it was definitely hard, I can say with all honesty that I really enjoy it and would like to continue. The biggest surprise has been the mental benefits of yoga – I can’t believe how calm and relaxed I feel after a yoga class. It’s hard to empty your mind during normal life, and I can see yoga as becoming the place where I get to do that each week.


New activity #2: CLIMBING!


I’ve only tried it a few times, but I think I like it. I guess I liked it enough to go buy a brand new pair of climbing shoes, haaaaaa. But really, I think this is a good activity for both mental and physical health. It is HARD – unbelievably hard – when you have zero upper body strength. And so far I’ve only been able to make it up half the wall (27 feet), and don’t even ask me to try to follow a certain route yet. So much of it is mental: fear of falling, fear of not being able to continue, feeling stuck, feeling like your arms are about to give out. I’m still struggling with all of that, but there’s this nagging voice that keeps telling me if I can just break through the mental barriers, this could be something I’d really enjoy. So for now, I’ll keep trying.


New activity #3: PAINTING!


Obviously this isn’t any form of physical exercise, but It was SO FUN that I’m counting it as a mental health activity win. My bff Tracy and I went to a painting class earlier this week and I enjoyed every minute of it, from the sweet college student artist who instructed the class, to the way everyone’s paintings managed to turn out beautifully yet differed so drastically in the end. It made me wish that painting supplies weren’t so expensive because I would totally try to paint more if it wasn’t such a colossal waste of money (for someone who doesn’t have any real painting talent, that is, haha). I would definitely take another class, though!

What new things have you tried lately??

Oh hi, it’s 2016.




Umm….This blog/website has been in the works for a while. I’d say I’m ashamed of how long it’s taken me to post, but shame is something I’m trying to combat this year, so let’s just say I feel a bit silly for procrastinating as long as I have.

I started toying around with the idea of a blog and an accompanying podcast last March (as in..almost a full year ago), put a bunch of work into it, even paid for a legitimate logo from a graphic design friend, bought a nice microphone, and then….insert excuse here. I dunno, life just happened. And I’m still feeling iffy about the podcast (SUCH A COMMITMENT), but enough is enough – I miss blogging and while I can’t confirm that this blog will always be 100% book review/reading-related, I can promise that those topics will make up at least a good chunk of the content. Other posts will be about whatever the heck I feel like, because I’m an adult and I do what I want.

So I’m starting off this year with a few goals, as I’m sure many of you are too. I’m a project-oriented person; successful yearly projects include a Project 365, cooking 52 new recipes, and reading 100 books (somehow not to the detriment of my entire social life).

This year, my goals are a little more abstract, and I think I’m ok with that. This year I want to focus on mindfulness, personal ambition, and self-care. What does that even mean? Often, we put ourselves last in every category in life – health, relaxation, hobbies, enjoyment, personal fulfillment, etc. And this year is the year I’m going to learn how to say “no.” It’s the year I’m going to learn how to be kind to myself, and to my body. And it’s the year I’m going to really and truly pursue the things I’m interested in…no halfheartedness allowed!

1. Write. Just freaking write something, already.

Write more!

Creative writing is that seemingly unreachable thing I view wistfully from afar. It’s that thing I love, but can’t ever seem to do in my free time (I already write nonfiction for my job). It’s filled with “not good enoughs,” staring hopelessly at empty Word documents, and being creatively tired. I want to get past whatever roadblocks I’ve created in my brain and just DO THE DANG THING ALREADY. I’m exploring writing prompts, word goal ideas, journal projects, etc. I can’t expect to be good at something if I…well…never do it.

2. Travel more. Travel somewhere new. Find adventure.


Traveling is a life-breathing experience for me. I can’t describe the fulfillment I get in encountering new places, cultures, restaurants, and experiences. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to spend money on (and I hate spending money…just ask my husband, haha), and I also feel like it’s one of the most valuable things you can spend your money on. I’ve already got a good start on this goal, as I’m planning a girls weekend in San Diego next month, and I’ll be visiting Nashville to hike Mt. LeConte in April with my mom, uncle, and cousin. June brings the possibility of a work trip to New Orleans, a place I’ve never been but would love to visit, and in August, Danny and I will take our annual trip somewhere new…and hopefully somewhere tropical. 😉

3. Read 50 books.


Ever since reading 100 books in 2013, I haven’t exactly felt the, ahem, desire to do that again. I’m sure I could if I set my mind to it, but I’ve learned that I tend to read at a slightly slower pace than what’s required for 100 books over 365 days, and I enjoy it so much more when I don’t have a deadline breathing down my neck. I set a goal for 50 books in 2015, and only managed to get to 38, so I’m setting it at 50 again to see if I can make it happen this time.

4. Get healthy.


Notice I say healthy, not skinny. So much of my life – practically my entire existence – has been consumed with trying to get skinny (um, it hasn’t happened yet), body negativity, and a general lack of self-confidence in my appearance and physical abilities. This year, I’d like to get truly healthy – both physically and mentally. This is a topic I’ll likely post more about in the future, because hello I have lots of thoughts on the subject!

5. Continue learning to code.


I was 13 years old when I typed my first line of HTML, and my love for coding has only grown since then. Aside from a few classes in high school and college, I never pursued it seriously (why, I have no idea) until last summer, when my good friend Josh started raving about this little site called Treehouse. I checked it out, and honestly, it’s worth every penny. I dove in and spent a couple of months learning Javascript, and then, like it always does, life got in the way and I stopped learning. This year I plan on picking it up again. I don’t have any hard goals, but I’d absolutely love it if I became proficient in at least one language (Javascript? Ruby?) by the end of the year.

And that’s it! As far as regular posting goes, I have no idea what sort of schedule I’ll keep, so I’m just going to play it by ear and see what feels natural. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I’m excited for 2016 – I hope you are too! 🙂

Qs: What are your goals for 2016? Are you a resolution person?